Why do protestant ministers where the collars of a priest?

I am truly trying to ask this question in a respectful manner, I intend no bashing or uncharitable remarks towards protestants.

I noticed that many, not all protestant ministers where collars and cossacks outside of their own churches which makes them look like a Catholic (Eastern and Latin Rite) priest. I saw a female minister who wore the black cossack and white collar, just like a priest. Why would protestant ministers want to resemble a Catholic priest when they often have serious differences in doctrine; especially with female ministers/bishops? Also with confession doctrine that is often associated with the collar (for Catholics)?

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I would assume it is just part of their traditions they did not see reason to abandon.
On the other hand, I have seen a Unitarian minister wear one so I suspect they just like how it looks!
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery anyway…:smiley:


It wasn’t even invented by Catholics…

I’ve learned something new today, thanks!

I guess it has just spread in popularity over the centuries. Now I wonder, what did Catholic priests where before the advent of the clerical collar?

The website does not say otherwise. It wouldn’t be called “Roman Collar” if not invented from Rome – the center of Catholicism. Here’s a link to the Cleric in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

I believe the clerical costume was first established in the Jewish tradition.

Orthodox also wear collars etc. Many Christian traditions have them and have had
them for centuries. Liturgical non-Roman Catholics do not associate a collar with Rome.
Those are usually the branches of protestantism that came more from the radicals or non-conformist.

There are two types of collars.

  1. Tab or “Roman” collar worn by Roman, Orthodox and some Anglican priests.
  2. Slave or “Dog Collar” worn by some Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutheran and Methodist.
    This one is a solid white collar around the neck on the outside of the collar.

I find #2 uncomfortable and prefer #1. I do not mind if someone mistakes me for
a Roman Catholic Priest or Orthodox Priest. I have been called worst names:D
(simple attempt at humor).

The collar, cassock etc are symbols of our office and makes us symbols of the Church and Christ. It reminds me of who I am and what my responsiblities are to the culture.
Also, wearing a suit and tie (as I did as a Baptist minister) allowed me to blend in when
blending was not needed. A collar, everyone knows who and what you are. As a Baptist, even though I carried a Bible I was still mistaken for a business man. I would have to explain who I was to nurses at the hospital. Walk in with a collar even the protestant nurses are more receptive. Never had patients call out to me as a Baptist. As an Anglican
I have had them call me out of the hallway for prayer or a blessing.

A great conversation starter. Had a great conversation with a Hindu a couple of weeks ago, he came up when he saw my collar and asked questions.

As to ordained females, not all collar protestants ordain women.

We also have the sacrament of Confession. Like the Roman Catholics, not too many Anglicans avail themselves of this blessing.

Hope this helps.



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“The Church of England’s Enquiry Centre reports (citing the Glasgow Herald of December 6, 1894) that the practice of Anglican clergy wearing a detachable clerical collar was invented by a Rev Dr Donald McLeod[1] and became more popular through the Oxford Movement.”


What is “Roman” about the Roman collar is the opening of the cassock collar right in front of it–the small step.

Anglicans traditionally wore a larger step.

For Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics, the collar of the cassock goes all around the neck, with the exception of the Romanian Orthodox, whose clergy wear a cassock with a more open collar similar to the Anglican style.

The shirt collar itself is non-sectarian, but simply the high collar that all gentlemen, especially of the learned professions, wore once upon a time on their shirts.

The modern clerical shirt has evolved (or degenerated) into a plastic tab inserted into a special shirt collar, designed to resemble the front of a Roman cassock (which is what the clerical vest originally was) with its narrow step opening.

Some of these things this article says about the use of the cassock and collar in Orthodoxy and their designs are not accurate.

Maybe I’m mistaken. Thanks for the comments.

But in any case, it does not matter as to who (Protestant or otherwise) “invented” the collar. What is important is what it resembles and how consistent the practice is with the Christian Faith.

All glory to God.

The “collar” is “religious garb”. I’ve known Brethren in Christ ministers who also wear a full white collar around their black shirt. The “collar” is similar to the “uniform” of some Conservative Quakers who still wear the “plain clothes”…it distinguishes them and sets them apart.

Many Mennonites wear plain clothing. I still see some Mennonite women wearing the prayer cap.

The Episcopal priest I personally know wears a large cowel type collar…he wears a short sleeve shirt with a very large loose white cowel like collar. He finds it more comfortable than the tight shirts with the collar that buttons in the back.

I saw a Protestant minister with a collar on and I asked him why he wears it. He said it makes him look important I took it as a compliment when everyone knows a Catholic priest wears it. The Roman collar is very attractive.

As an ordained United Methodist I wear the clerical collar for several reasons:

  1. Because it immediately identifies me as clergy in a society where that identity is not always easy to discern.
  2. I live and minister in an urban-environment, where the clerical has some protective aspects.
  3. I dislike the coat-and-tie – I find it physically uncomfortable.
  4. The current fad of clergy wearing casual shirt-sleeves (looking no different from their congregations) is far too casual for my preference.
  5. I vest in alb, stole, and chasuble for worship, and the collar looks good when it shows above the neck of the alb.

As for the kind of clerical collar worn, I’ve never considered myself limited to any one kind. I wear the “neckband” or “dog” collar, the wide (2 inch) step opening of the Anglican tradition, and the narrow (1 inch) step opening of the Roman Catholic tradition.


I never have. I usually just wear jeans and a nice shirt, unless I’m preaching or teaching, in which case I wear slacks and a jacket and tie.

I don’t see anything in scripture to support collars or vestments.

Actually it was. The article you post talks about a development.

“The Church of England’s Enquiry Centre reports (citing the Glasgow Herald of December 6, 1894) that the practice of Anglican clergy wearing a detachable clerical collar was invented by a Rev Dr Donald McLeod1] and became more popular through the Oxford Movement.”

The detachable collar is being attributed to him not the actual collar.

Origin: “Originally,” says the Reverend Henry McCloud in his book Clerical Dress and Insignia of the Roman Catholic Church, the Roman collar “was nothing else than the shirt collar turned down over the cleric’s everyday common dress in compliance with a fashion that began toward the end of the sixteenth century. For when the laity began to turn down their collars, the clergy also took up the mode.”

… But that’s only half the story. The clergy also adopted the fad of lining their collars with fancy lace and needlework, which made them more beautiful but also more difficult to clean. So a third custom arose: covering the collar with a changeable sleeve of white linen to protect it from dirt. The modest-minded Pope Urban VIII banned the use of lace in 1624 … but he didn’t ban the protective sleeve. “Thus,” McCloud says, “the narrow band of white linen used to protect the collar in the course of a few centuries became what is known today as the Roman collar.”

In his essay on Why A Priest Should Wear His Roman collar, Charles M. Mangan states: “The Roman collar makes the priest available for the Sacraments (baptism, confirmation, eucharist, holy orders, matrimony, penance), especially Confession and the Anointing of the Sick (last rites), and for crisis situations.”

**The Roman collar was a Catholic invention. ** The clerics mentioned in the above are Catholic ones. That is why McCloud entitled his book “Clerical Dress and Insignia of the Roman Catholic Church.” There is absolutely no way the Roman collar was a style many different religious groups used. Those making this argument cannot produce the proof.

Everyone knows that a Catholic priest first wore the collar centuries ago. Do you want to look like a Catholic priest? what do you think of the Wesley brothers whom started your religion?

So do you see anything in Scripture to support jeans and a nice shirt? :rotfl:


Funny how some can apply a double standard to Scripture.

:clapping::rotfl::rotfl:i’m sorry, but that’s funnny!:smiley:

Not specifically. They just wear the common clothes of the day. Jeans are the common clothes of our day. So while it isn’t specifically stated that we are to wear jeans, we do see it in principle.

OK, then principle applies from Scripture? Priests from the OT did not wear the common clothes of the day. :stuck_out_tongue: or did they?

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